Pigeon/Jones Project

The Pigeon/Jones Watershed Project is a comprehensive watershed effort that will provide flood control, erosion and sediment control and grade stabilization benefits in the 20,316 acre Pigeon/Jones Creek Watershed in Dakota County. The benefits will be realized on thousands of acres of irrigated cropland in the Missouri River bottom lands where the combined Pigeon and Jones Creek empty into the Pigeon Creek Levee System. Eighteen sediment and erosion control structures are planned for this watershed. Five have been completed.


In addition, the construction of Pigeon/Jones Flood Control Site #15 (shown at left) has  created a 228 surface acre lake with 595 acres of additional park land. Now named Kramper Reservoir and Danish Alps State Recreation Area, this site includes “no wake” boating, fishing, hiking and biking trails, equestrian trails and campgrounds.  The steep terrain will also be uniquely suited to mountain biking on trails provided for that use. The structure is currently being built and it is slated for opening in 2014.

Partnering with the NRD on this project are the NE Resources Development Fund, NE Dept of Environmental Quality, NE Game and Parks Commission, NE Environmental Trust, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and Dakota County.

For more information contact:
Terry Schumacher, Land and Water Programs Coordinator
tschumacher@papionrd.org 402-426-2415

Elk/Pigeon Creek Drainage Project

The NRD now maintains 15 miles of levees along both Pigeon and Elk Creeks. The cost of the capital improvements to this drainage project are shared equally from the NRD general fund and the revenue generated from a special property assessment on area property. Recent improvements include leveling the top of the Pigeon Creek levees for better uniformity and to enhance maintenance. Unwanted woody vegetation within the levees or immediately adjacent to the levees was removed to improve their long-term integrity. Elk Creek has two grade stabilization structures to deter channel degradation which can cause slope stability problems for the levees. Along with 2.2 miles of levee rehabilitation east of Jackson done through the EWP program.

Projects to reduce the sediment buildup in the Pigeon Creek and Elk Creek are continuous. Dredging helps to lessen the impact from flooding of adjacent agricultural land. Approximately 7 miles of the Pigeon Creek was recently dredged by Natural Resources District crews in 2017. This area received considerable flooding in June 2014, and the levee was damaged twice during June due to record rainfall. This new dredging work will greatly improve the capacity of the levees to safely convey heavy rainfall runoff.

Emergency Watershed Protection Project

Flood control levees along a portion of Elk Creek, near the Village of Jackson in Dakota County, have experienced severe sloughing and bank erosion due to high water events in 2011 and 2019. “The prevention of flood damage is our top priority,” said John Winkler, NRD General Manager. “It’s important to the NRD to address both rural and urban flood control needs throughout our six-county NRD area”.

The reconstruction of 2.2 miles of levee on both sides of the creek east of Jackson from Hwy. 20 to 137th St. was funded through the Natural Resources Conservation Service EWP (Emergency Watershed Protection) program. The first project was completed in 2013 and involved the relocation of the existing right bank levee away from Elk Creek and constructing a levee with more stable slopes. The second project completed in 2021 relocated the left bank levee and replicated what was done previously on the right bank. Seventy-five percent of the cost for these projects was paid through the NRCS EWP program. The remaining 25 percent was split 50/50 by the NRD and the Elk Creek IPA.

The levees protect 3,840 acres of agricultural land in addition to Highway 20 and 137th Street from flooding. According to the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the potential yearly flood damage prevented is estimated at $1.5 million.

For more information contact:
Justin Novak, Project Manager
402-315-1706 or 402-616-0969